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That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o'the ulcer: Hamlet comes back; What would you undertake, To show yourself in deed your
father's More than in words? Laer.
To cut his throat i'the church. King. No place, indeed, should murder sanc
tuarize; Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes, Will you do this, keep close within your chamber : Hamlet, return’d, shall know you are come home: We'll put on those shall praise your excellence, And set a double varnish on the fame The Frenchman gave you; bring you, in fine, to
gether, And wager o'er your heads : he, being remiss 19, Most generous and free from all contriving, , Will not peruse the foils ; so that, with ease, Or with a little shuffling, you may choose A sword unbated 20, and, in a pass of practice, Requite him for your father. Laer.
I will do't: And, for the purpose, I'll anoint my sword. I bought an unction of a mountebank, So mortal, that but dip a knife in it, nities and time abused seems most aptly compared to the sigh of a spendthrift- good resolutions not carried into effect are deeply injurious to the moral character. Like sighs, they hurt by easing, they unburden the mind and satisfy the conscience, without producing any effect upon the conduct.'
19 · He being remiss. He being not vigilant; or incautious.
20 i. e. unblunted, to bate, or rather' to rebate, was to make dull. Aciem ferre hebetare. Thus in Love's Labour's Lost we have
• That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge.' And in Measure for Measure :
rebate and blunt his natural edge.' 21 Pass of practice is an insidious thrust. Shakspeare, in common with many of his cotemporaries, always uses practice for art, deceit, treachery.
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
be death 22. King.
Let's further think of this ; Weigh, what convenience, both of time and means, May fit us to our shape: If this should fail, And that our drift look through our bad performance, 'Twere better not assay'd : therefore this project Should have a back, or second, that might hold, If this should blast in proof 23. Soft;—let me see: We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings 24, I ha't: When in your motion you are hot and dry, (As make your bouts more violent to that end,) And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepar'de him A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping, If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck 26, Our purpose may hold there. But stay, what noise???
22 Ritson has exclaimed with just indignation and abhorrence against the villanous assassinlike treachery of Laertes in this horrid plot: he observes. There is more occasion that he should be pointed out for an object of abhorrence, as he is a character we are led to respect and admire in some preceding scenes.' In the old quarto of 1603 this contrivance originates with the king :
· When you are hot, in midst of all your play,
In any part of him he cannot live.' 23 If this should blast in proof, as fire arms sometimes burst in proving their strength.
24 Cunning is skill. 25 The quarto reads prefar'd; the folio prepar’d. The modern editors read preferr'd, but I think without good reason.
20 A stuck is a thrust. Stoccata, Ital. Sometimes called a staccado in English.
But stay, what noise ? these words are not in the folio.
Enter Queen. How now, sweet queen ?
Queen. One woe doth tread upon another’s heel, So fast they follow :-Your sister's drown'd, Laertes.
Laer. Drown'd! 0, where?
Queen. There is a willow grows ascaunt the brook, That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream: Therewith fantastick garlands did she make Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples, That liberal 30 shepherds give a grosser name, But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them: There on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke; When down her weedy trophies, and herself, Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide; And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up: Which time, she chanted snatches of old tunes 31 ; As one incapable 32 of her own distress, Or like a creature native and indu'd 33 Unto that element: but long it could not be, Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
28 A scaunt, thus the quarto: the folio reads aslant. Ascaunce is the same as askew, sideways, overthwart; à travers, Fr.
29 The ancient botanical name of the long purples was testiculis morionis, or orchis priapiscus. The grosser name to which the queen alludes is sufficiently known in many parts of England. It had kindred appellations in other languages. In Sussex it is said to be called dead men's hands. Its various names may be seen in Lyte's Herbal, 1578, or in Cotgrave's Dictionary.
30 i. e. licentious. See Much Ado about Nothing, Act iv. Sc. 1, and Othello, Act ii. Sc. 1.
31 The quarto reads' snatches of old lauds,' i. e. hymns. Hymns of praise were so called from the psalm Laudate Domi
32 i. e. unsusceptible of it. See note 21, p. 276.
33 Indu'd was anciently used in the sense of endowed with qualities of any kind, as in the phrase ' a child indued with the grace and dexteritie that his father had.' Shakspeare may, however, have used it for habited, accustomed.
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
Alas then, she is drown'd?
Laer. Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
Let's follow, Gertrude: How much I had to do to calm his rage! Now fear I, this will give it start again; Therefore, let's follow.
SCENE I. A Church Yard.
Enter Two Clowns, with Spades, &c. 1 Clo. Is she to be buried in christian burial, that wilfully seeks her own salvation ?
2 Clo. I tell thee, she is; therefore make her grave straight1: the crowner hath set on her, and finds it christian burial.
34 Thus the quarto 1603 :
· Therefore I will not drown thee in my tears,
For woe begets woe, and grief hangs on grief.' 35 Thus in King Henry V. Act iv. Sc. 6 :
• But all my mother came into my eyes,
And gave me up to tears.' 36 The folio reads-doubts it.
1 How Johnson could think that any particular mode of making Ophelia's grave was meant I cannot imagine. Nothi
1 Clo. How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence ?
2 Clo. Why, 'tis found so.
1 Clo. It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here lies the point: If I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act; and an act hath three branches; it is, to act, to do, and to perform? ; Argal, she drowned herself wittingly.
2 Clo. Nay, but hear you, goodman delver.
1 Clo. Give me leave. Here lies the water; good; here stands the man; good: If the man go to this water, and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes; mark you that: but if the water come to him, and drown him, he drowns not himself : Argal, he, that is not guilty of his own death, shortens not his own life.
2 Clo. But is this law ?
is so common as this mode of expression : straight is merely a contraction of straightway, immediately. Numerous examples are to be found in Shakspeare, one may suffice from this very play, in Act iii. Sc. 4, Polonius says:
• He will come straight.' And Malone cites from G. Herbert's Jacula Prudentium, 1651 :
There is no churchyard so handsome that a man would desire straight to be buried there.'
2 Warburton says that this is a ridicule on scholastic divisions without distinction; and of distinctions without difference. Shakspeare certainly aims at the legal subtleties used upon occasion of inquests. Sir John Hawkins points out the case of Dame Hales, in Plowden’s Commentaries. Her husband Sir James drowned himself in a fit of insanity (produced, it was supposed, by his having been one of the judges who condemned Lady Jane Grey), and the question was about the forfeiture of a lease. There was a great deal of this law logic used on the occasion, as whether he was the agent or patient; or in other words (as the clown says), whether he went to the water, or the water came to him. Malone thinks because Plowden was in law French that Shakspeare could not read him! and yet Malone bas shown that Shakspeare is very fond of legal phraseology, and supposes that he must have passed some part of his life in the office of an attorney.